The Skywriter

Guest Blog: A town hall in South Carolina


Guest Blog: A town hall in South Carolina

Jan Hammett SC-2.jpg

From guest blogger Jan Hammett, a Climate Precinct Captain in South Carolina.

Picture This:

On Monday, June 22, 2009 Representative Bob Inglis held a town hall Meeting at the Spartanburg Main Library. As a Climate Precinct Captain with 1Sky, and in light of the fact that this week the House would most likely be voting on the American Clean Energy and Security Act, I phoned several people and asked them to attend. It was good to see Amy Coker Pascoe and Jonathan Blanton show up in support of the Waxman-Markey bill.

Rep. Inglis stood in front of the Barrett Room at the Library and started asking for questions and concerns of how the meeting should go. I asked him to speak about bringing jobs back to S.C. and the nation, through a green, renewable energy economy. To make a long story short, he addressed all concerns except mine and then went on to brush this off as "Sorry, we are out of time."

Ah, but the story did not end there. Now, picture this: What happened next played like a scene from a political Robert Redford movie.

A courageous young man by the name of Jonathan Blanton, begins to rise to his feet and address Rep. Inglis and indeed the entire room. The crowd that had started to leave, began to settle back into their chairs. The room became quiet as Jonathan walked ever so slowly toward the front, speaking with passion and a strong determination to be heard. Even Rep. Inglis seemed to be in awe and completely focused on the words of this young man.

Here is what Jonathan said:

Congressman Inglis-

My name is Jonathan Blanton. This year I graduated from Chesnee High School.

Many decisions have been presented in front of me, many opportunities are on the horizon, and many decisions are waiting to be made. I sit and I think about my future a lot, but in the process I think about the future of this country, and more importantly, the future of our world.

Congressman, sixty years from now nearly every member of the 111th Congress, including yourself, will no longer walk this wonderful world we’re living in, but, God-willing, my generation will. We will reap what you sow. You and every other member of Congress will leave behind a legacy that will define not only you, but will define who we were as a nation during this point in history. You have inherited our Earth, just as every other member of the human race has, and just as every member of the human race will. What you do with it will determine what we do for it.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act is an opportunity for you and every other congressman to rise above petty politics and join together as, not members of the Republican party, not members of the Democratic party, but members of the human race.

Congressman, I know that money is the force that drives the world, for tonight, you Sir have spoken the word "profit" eleven (11) times, but the love money is also the root of all evil. I know that our state and nation are in dire fiscal circumstances and that everyone is looking to make a profit, but we can not put a price tag on our air, glaciers, oceans, atmosphere, sun, skies, or solar system.

Congressman, I implore you to join hands in unity with your colleagues to send a message to the world that we are rising above ourselves and our self interest to help mankind and help preserve our planet. Generations to come will judge you by how you treat the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Do you want my generation and the generations to come, to look back with dismay and say, "If only they’d passed that bill…" or to look back with a grateful heart and say "Thank God, that Congress recognized the consequences of procrastination, swallowed their political pride, and stood together as one generation of people, to save our generation."

I know that this will not be easy, progress never is, but I have faith in my country, my leaders, and in you Congressman. I know that you all have it in you to rise above the political game in Washington and to go home, look your children in the eye and honestly say, "Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright for you."

You have the power to change and save the world, and I beg you to think about the consequences of not acting now. This is your moment Congressman, please make sure that my generation has a clean and stable Earth to inherit. Nothing less than the world is at stake.

Thank You,
Jonathan Blanton

When Jonathan finished, the whole room went into an unrestrained, thunderous applause. I even yelled out a big cheer! For a few moments, Jonathan had transformed the people in this room. We changed from being just Republicans or Democrats. We became unified. "We" were Americans, cheering on one of our own. Bravo, Jonathan.
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